Washington Fellows to Present ‘Tom Talks’ Dec. 2

Created: November 24, 2015  |  Last Updated: September 30, 2021  |  Category:   |  Tagged:

WASHINGTON, PA (Nov. 24, 2015) — Now in its second year, Tom Talks, a discussion series presented by the Washington Fellows scholars of Washington & Jefferson College (W&J), will be held Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in Allen Ballroom of Rossin Campus Center.

Based on the popular Ted Talks series, Tom Talks is presented by W&J students who have done independent research on a world issue and will discuss their findings and opinions.

The talks will be streamed live online at https://www.washjeff.edu/ or on https://video.ibm.com, and all are invited to watch as these W&J students contribute to the global dialogue on current events and other important issues. Additionally, those watching from home can ask questions of the presenters by using Twitter to tweet questions to @wjcollege using the hashtag #WJTomTalks15.

Blynn Shideler ’18 and Peter Sobraske ’18, who were part of the inaugural class of Washington Fellows and helped found Tom Talks in 2014, are event organizers this year.

“Our second time around, we’ve been able to improve the event,” Shideler said. “We’re introducing live tweeting this year, and we’ll have a guest faculty speaker, Dr. [Michael] McCracken.” McCracken is an associate professor of Physics at W&J.

Shideler said he hopes the new format will encourage those who are not able to attend the event in person to engage with the presenters and join the conversation.

“One of the concepts of the Washington Fellows in general is to expand your mind outside of the classroom and start to think about controversial topics and thought-provoking concepts in a different way,” Shideler said. “It’s an opportunity to start forming your opinions on certain issues that don’t always come up in the classroom setting, and to start a flow of ideas and get a conversation started about those next-level topics in the community.”

Washington Fellows are part of a selective program for students who want to challenge themselves in their years at W&J. Candidates are students who seek an in-depth engagement in the liberal arts and sciences, for the betterment of themselves and the world.

Tom Talks were formed from conversation topics addressed during Washington Fellows meetings. Six students have been selected to present on a variety of topics for 10 minute segments on Dec. 2:

  • “Man Up!: Masculinity and the Modern Man” by Jordan Hosfelt ’19 (Major(s): Biochemistry & Spanish; Hometown: Connellsville, PA) - Jordan will talk about the idea of masculinity and the effects of society's views on masculine features in men today.
  • “Attention Deficit… Hey Look A Butterfly” by Kelly Himes ’18 (Major(s): History; Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA) - Kelly will talk about misconceptions of ADHD and what we can do to help those currently suffering from ADHD.
  • “Traveling Young - The Time is Now!“ by Vihan Jain ’19 (Major(s): Undecided; Hometown: Bombay, India) - Vihan will talk about the importance of traveling the world when you are young, the benefits traveling has on your life, and the opportunities W&J offers to make this possible for college students.
  • “Genetic Engineering and the End of Extinction“ by Zachary Pellis ’19 (Major(s): Biology; Hometown: Greensburg, PA) - Zach will explain just how close science is to recreating the Wooly Mammoth as he explains the advancements in  genetically modified organism (GMO) research and how this will affect the natural world.
  • “Self-Forgiveness: The Road to Achieving Self-Growth“ by Katie Campbell ’18 (Major(s): English; Hometown: Hookstown, PA) - Katie will end the student speaker portion as she talks about the importance of self-forgiveness and how self-forgiveness can help you lead a more positive life.
  • “Naturalness: Is our Universe a fluke?“ by Michael McCracken, Ph.D. (W&J Class of 2004; Dept. of Physics) - Our guest faculty speaker Dr. McCracken said of his topic: “Our understanding of the Universe is going through a rough patch. Our current best explanation of physical processes is beautiful and provides many predictions that are in amazing agreement with  observation… There’s only one problem: We know the theory is wrong!  This has left the field in a quandary; I’ll discuss the ensuing scientific/philosophical/psychological/sociological dilemmas.”


About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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